Thursday, December 9, 2010

Artist Lecture critiques

Polly Apfelbaum: First of all, persoanlly I was interested in her as a person. Compared to other lectures I've attended, she was a breath of fresh air because she had a nice speaking voice and kept the audience entertained with her often blunt comments. I enjoyed seeing her early work (even if I didn't like it personally) because it gave me a reference point to judge her later work. Sometimes at lectures they skim over their early work. I liked the names she would choose for titles like "Language of Flowers" was a piece made from old clown suits. I liked her take on "gallery work" not being so haughty with art speak and the idea of her art adapting to its environment for each gallery show. I thought that her "Eclipse" piece looked "like Klimt threw-up on the floor - beautifully..." as someone remarked after the show. I also enjoyed how she never glued any of her work down so it has such a vulnerable side to it and how she continues to make her work and let the rules follow. When she started showing her more recent phase of work I wasn't as impressed personally as I was with the work from her middle period. Pieces like "Nit in Any Way, Shape, or Form" and "Today I Love Everybody" resembled more of her earlier work with limited and ready made materials with little altering outside of dying of painting. Most of the work she showed from this period consisted of bolts of pre-made fabric being cut up into specific shapes and laid out the length of the gallery space. Some of them were interesting to see the negative and positive spaces the shapes made and possibly what she was thinking when she laid them there. However, I just couldn't let the slightly critical side of me feel that the work from the middle era that had this idea of adapting space along with technical skill sets overpower the though of buying pre-made fabric and doing little altercations. The middle phase of her work seemed more lively and expressive to me personally by it being pushed to such a degree that no one but Apfelbaum could call it hers. Maybe she'll circle back around to these processes again because I felt that they along with "Funky Town" are some of her strongest work.

Shawn Sheeny:
I was really excited about seeing this lecture because I really enjoy the art of pop books. I would say that this lecture was somewhat lukewarm as far as lectures go not because Sheeney's work wasn't interesting or that he wasn't pleasant to listen but that he decided to give a slow-paced history lesson and didn't show as much of his work as I thought he would. I did learn a lot about pop-up books and was surprised that it took almost 10 years to make just one by himself. I also enjoyed some of the other artists he mentioned such as Matthew Reinhart. I got the impression that he would be an even better speaker with smaller crowds where he'd be allowed more freedom and time to explain more of his own personal processes as opposed to teaching about the medium as a whole.

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